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Policy Options: Reducing the Human Carnage in Least Developed Nations by Reducing the Sales of Conventional Arms

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Research paper

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In the post Cold War environment the United States faces a dramatic array of often competing issues and agendas that cry for attention and demand a share of the nations constrained resources. One of the most agonizing situations one can view daily is the tragic human devastation taking place in countries where order has broken down and where armies, militias, and even armed teenagers torment innocent civilian populations. Americans are barraged with the horrors in Somalia and Yugoslavia, but comparable carnage exists in numerous other nations. Liberia, Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, and Sudan are some of the most notorious, but others exist today and many others are on the verge of comparable disintegration. What is common to these situations is that nations or governments have disintegrated. In traditional warfare even civil war military force is pitted against military force sovereign nations or political organizations fight over territory, resources, rights of access, influence, etc. In these new conflicts, portions sometimes all of the civilian population are the target of the aggression or the object over which battles are fought. In some circumstances, the possessions of the civilian population are targeted in others cases their very existence due to race, religion, clan, tribe or ethnic heritage renders them a target. In each case, the duties of the nation have been abrogated, and the tools normally reserved for security forces have been turned on the population. The public agonizes with a sense of helplessness over such situations and hears discussions of compassion fatigue. The number of such conflicts 30 in the world, nearly half in Africa and the size of the populations affected exceeds the best efforts of the International Community. This situation begs for new directions that will offer long-term solutions for preventing the chaos, or minimizing the destruction to civilian populations if future states devolve and break apart.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Guided Missiles
  • Guns

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